TAIPEI (DPA) - Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday (Sept 9) received a delegation from the Solomon Islands amid concerns the small Pacific archipelago is planning to become the latest country to switch its diplomatic allegiance to China.
Ms Tsai received a delegation led by Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele and vowed to strengthen diplomatic relations with the Solomon Islands, which she described as an "affectionate ally".
"It has shown tremendous support in the international arena, such as meetings at organisations affiliated with the United Nations," Ms Tsai said.
Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu tweeted that "spirits were high" at the meeting.
Mr Manele will this week visit private companies and research organisations involving clean energy and agricultural machinery.
The Solomon Islands is one of the 17 nations that formally recognise Taiwan, but the country is considering severing ties with Taipei in favour of aligning itself with Beijing.
Since Beijing-sceptic Ms Tsai took office in 2016, China poached five of Taiwan's allies.
Taiwan's Foreign Ministry said last Friday that the Solomon Islands should be wary about switching its allegiance and not risk falling into China's "debt trap".
Ministry spokesman Joanne Ou said China's growing influence in the Pacific region trapped some countries with debt, and its infrastructure projects caused environmental damage.
Beijing's "One China" principle requires that other nations avoid formal diplomatic recognition of Taiwan.
The island has had a separate government since Chinese Nationalists fled there in 1949 after losing a civil war to the communists.